Scrapbookpages Blog

August 29, 2016

How the ruins of Auschwitz-Birkenau have changed over the years

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 3:55 pm
Recent photo of the ruins of a gas chamber

Recent photo of the ruins of the Krema II gas chamber at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site

In the photo above, note the height of the trees in the background. The old photo below shows virtually no trees.

A photo of the same ruins, taken in 1945

Photo of the ruins of Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau, taken in 1945

My photo of the ruins taken in 1998

My 2005 photo of the same ruins

Krema II at Auschwitz-Birkenau, shown in the photos above, was the site of the largest mass murder in the history of mankind, according to Robert Jan Van Pelt, a noted Holocaust historian.

It was here that over 500,000 Jews were  gassed to death with Zyklon-B, an insecticide that was also used to disinfect clothing in the camp, according to Mr. Van Pelt.

The old black and white photo was taken shortly after Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Union on January 27, 1945.

The photo at the top of the page shows the same view of the ruins of Krema II, taken recently. The trees in the background are at the west end of the Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau.

These photos show the on-going effort to preserve the ruins of Krema II. Robert Jan Van Pelt calls Krema II the “Holy of Holies.” He feels that this is a place that demands great reverence and respect for the thousands of innocent victims who perished here.

My 2005 photo of the ruins of the oven room for Krema II

My 2005 photo of the ruins of the oven room in Krema II where bodies were burned

Old photo shows Krema II before it was blown up

Old photo shows Krema II building before it was blown up

The old black and white photo above shows the Krema II building in 1943, when it was still under construction; the roof of the partially-underground gas chamber, covered with about two inches of snow, is on the right.

The ceiling of the gas chamber room was around eight feet high; the exterior roof was about three feet above ground.

There were four holes in the roof of the gas chambers in both Krema II and Krema III; the roofs were made of reinforced concrete, six inches thick. Through these four holes on the roof, an SS man, wearing a gas mask, would lower an open can of Zyklon-B gas pellets down into four wire-mesh columns inside the gas chamber.

When the gassing was finished, the pellets were retrieved and sent back to the Degesch company so that they could be filled with poison and used again.

Michael Kula, a Holocaust survivor, testified as an eye-witness to the use of wire-mesh columns for the Zyklon-B pellets, but these columns are no longer in existence.